The Grapevine

Coronavirus Patients Suffer Kidney Failure, Dialysis Machines In Shortage

Although there has yet to be proof that kidneys have anything to do with the coronavirus, hospitals are now scampering for dialysis machines due to a surge in kidney failure cases. There is growing evidence that aside from respiratory problems, the COVID-19 virus is complicating matters by shutting down some patients' kidneys.

According to the New York Times, doctors are scrambling to an overlooked crisis with the number of patients suffering from kidney failures rising. This becomes a new cause for alarm with most medical facilities already dealing with the shortage of ventilators.

Further to the report, about 20 to 40 percent of patients in intensive care are suffering from kidney failure and need emergency dialysis. And the problem is not limited to New York. There is a surge in demand for kidney treatments in other hospitals located in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit. Aside from machines, there is also a shortage of fluids and other supplies needed by the machines. The number of medical personnel trained to carry out the treatment is also limited.

"We only have nine or 10 machines, and now we have over 30 patients that need them," an unnamed physician said. "So it becomes a question of who the resource goes to, and these are very difficult decisions."

Hospitals have turned to the government for assistance, revealing how manufacturers have not been responsive to the growing demand. The name of the manufacturers was not named but likely to be acted on similar to how United States President Donald Trump contracted major companies like General Motors and 3M. Both were tasked to address the shortage of ventilators and N95 masks, The Hill reported.

The growing concern on the life-saving equipment has become a new worry for most, something unforeseen with most figuring out how the COVID-19 spread. noted that ICU doctors are discovering that a certain number of patients who are most severely-ill are developing acute kidney injury, a rapid decline in kidney function. These problems are cropping up in patients who do not have advanced diabetes or chronic renal conditions.

"We don't have any other clues as to what differentiates patients that do develop kidney failure, who are infected with COVID with those that don't," Dr. Benjamin Humphreys, a kidney specialist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said.

dialysis Over the course of six years, Hu Songwen visited a local hospital every few days in order to have his blood cleaned by a dialysis machine. Wikimedia Commons/Anna Frodesi